Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Social Sciences


Larry D Lankton


This dissertation examines the genesis and development of Keweenaw National Historical Park in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. After the decline of a once-thriving copper mining industry, local residents pursued the creation of a national park as a way to encourage economic development, revitalize their community, and preserve their historic resources. Although they were ultimately successful in creating a national park, the park that was established was not the park that they envisioned. Over the next twenty years, the National Park Service, the park's federal Advisory Commission, and the communities on the Keweenaw Peninsula struggled to align unrealistic expectations with the actual capabilities and limitations of the park.

The first chapter of this dissertation includes a short history of the decline of the copper industry in and around the village of Calumet, Michigan. This chapter also includes a discussion about the techniques and challenges of preserving and interpreting industrial heritage. Chapters 2 and 3 cover the events from the initial park proposal, to the expansion of the original idea, to the establishment of the park. Chapter 4 includes an examination of the enabling legislation and a discussion about the opportunities and challenges it provided. Chapters 5 through 8 cover the tenure of each of the four NPS superintendents as they navigated the complexities presented by a park model that was part partnership park and part traditional national park. Chapter 9 includes some key lessons, an assessment of the park's success, and some considerations for the future. In particular, Chapter 9 argues for an increased focus on the partnership aspects of the park, a reduction in the perceived scope of responsibilities, and a renewed effort to rally the existing partners in pursuing additional philanthropic support for the overall park.

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